Makarora River (II) Cameron Flat to Bridge Flat

Most of the Makarora is a wide braided river, which gets quite bony in the upper reaches in normal flows. The main road runs close by for much of its length, so you could start higher (Davis Flat) or even do the short hike to the swingbridge by the Makarora Gorge for a slightly more remote trip.

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The Makarora River (II) Cameron Flat to Bridge Flat
This short section has a few class II rapids which can make for an afternoon’s fun or combined with a bigger float..

The interesting part starts just after the river heads abruptly away from the road. Some wave trains and boulder gardens end about where the swing bridge is. Make sure you smile at all the tourists going to the Blue pools. If you haven’t already been, its worth wandering up to the tourist bridge above Blue pools for a look. However, the Makarora has Didymo and the Blue doesn’t, so make sure you don’t bring your boat up or drip into the river!

Beneath the Blue confluence, there are one or two more riffles, then a long flat paddle to Bridge Flat. It’s a little tricky to see the car park area from the river, but its above some bouldery stop banks. From here you can hitch back to your car relatively easily.

There isn’t a flow gauge, but there is a rain gauge in
Makarora. Having a bit of rain helps make the trip a little less bony, especially if you’re planning to float the braided sections above and below.

2 Trip reports Log your trip

  1. Tim Sikma says:

    River braid wide fallen tree strainer on river right 100m above the Kiwi Flat bridge. It is a large beech tree which is probably going anywhere for a long while. Needs to be portage (very easy to do) but difficult to see the full width of the strainer from the top of the right turning gravel riffle. Left braid could be an option but that had a tree in a small rapid as well.
    The rest of this run is scenic and has a few good play and teaching features.

    • Date of your trip -18/12/2023
    • Estimated/gauge flow -A little boney start at Davis Flat. Average low flow level.
    • When did it last rain and how much? -A few days earlier
    • How long did it take to paddle the section described here? -4 hrs - Davis Flat put-in to Young River Fishing access get-out
    • Any new hazards? -River braid wide fallen tree strainer on river right 100m above the Kiwi Flat bridge
  2. Matt Burke says:

    Dan’s flat? 🙂 – Davis flat maybe… Any idea on grade of Makarora gorge?

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